photo courtesy FrancisEmma Inc.
What could spies in the Confederate White House, Isaac from The Love Boat and the rehabilitation of antique buildings that served as an African-American school have to do with each other? If you're curious, go see Ted Lange's Lady Patriot , presented by the nonprofit Francis Emma Inc. at the University of Richmond's Camp Concert Hall.
Lange, who played bartender Isaac Washington on the series that sailed through CBS primetime from 1977 to 1987, has written 24 plays and directed the television series Dharma & Greg and Moesha . The last in a trilogy of U.S. history plays, The Lady Patriot tells the story of former slave Mary Bowser, who, legend has it, served as a servant and spy in the home of Jefferson Davis. Bowser worked with wealthy Richmond widow Elizabeth Van Lew to provide intelligence to the Union forces.
The production is part of a fundraising effort to preserve St. Francis de Sales ("Rock Castle") and St. Emma Military Academy ("Belmead"), former schools for African-American youth started by St. Katharine Drexel in Powhatan County. Cast member Lou Beatty Jr., a graduate of St. Emma, is in part responsible for bringing the show to town. Lange also plans to visit Richmond for the production. 7 p.m. May 23 and 24; 3 p.m. May 24 and 25. $36 to $100. 289-8980 or modlin.richmond.edu